Whether you’re planning a weekend getaway to unwind with friends and family or want to take advantage of the beautiful summer weather, renting a boat is an opportunity for adventure. If you’ve never rented a boat before, there’s still time to prepare yourself and enjoy your rental!
Instead of wasting time and running into unnecessary trouble out on the water by not knowing the basics, pick up these ten important tips so you can rent a boat like an old pro.
1. Boat Knowledge
Before getting into your rental, make sure you know what you’re doing. It’s better to be over-prepared than under-prepared when it comes to boating.
Know how much horsepower is best for your needs; ask the rental company if it isn’t specified. Once you’re on the water, it can be difficult to get help if you run into trouble, so make sure everyone on the boat is aware of what they’re doing.
2. Renting a Boat
Always rent from an approved boat dealer who will have a record of all repairs and services completed by qualified technicians. If renting at a beach location, hire someone with knowledge of wave action and sun exposure in your area.
If you are renting a boat for special events, then there are various packages offered by boat rentals. For instance, if you are planning a bachelor’s party, then there are a lot of bucks party boat rental companies that offer a range of vessels to choose from.
3. Safety Equipment
On your boat, make sure everyone has a life jacket (for children and adults) and that the jackets are fastened securely before getting on the water.
Bring sunscreen and drinking water for all passengers; you can even bring snacks to keep up morale. It’s better to be safe than sorry when enjoying an extended day on the water!
4. Know Your Boat
Before hitting the waves, it’s essential to know how to use the rental equipment properly and safely:
- Check throttle control when starting out in neutral
- Know how to tie different knots when anchoring or when needing help to dock
- Always check the engine oil level before driving away from the dock
5. Communication is Key!
When driving a boat, it’s important that your passengers know the basics: How/when to signal for help and safety tips like staying away from shore and piers.
Don’t be afraid to ask before you go; even experienced boaters can learn new things, and everyone will have a smoother trip!
6. Enjoying the Ride (With Footwear!)
Wearing shoes is always recommended on boats, as they’ll stay securely on your feet if caught in choppy waters. Make sure heels are taken off before getting on the boat; this may sound funny, but you don’t want to make a bad impression by doing a face-plant into the water!
Your ground crew should also wear rubber-soled shoes or even water shoes for wet deck safety.
7. A Place For Everything
Be sure to have a spot for everything you bring on the boat, whether it’s in your bag or with other equipment. Disorganized trips are no fun!
It’s embarrassing to go back to the dock because you can’t find where the life jackets are stored, so make sure everyone is prepared before leaving land.
8. Know Your Route
Before heading out, study your map and inquire about any weather updates from locals. If there are severe thunderstorms or winds of 25 mph or more predicted, don’t go out into the water — especially if you’re new to boating!
Before hitting the waves, check local websites for information on weather and currents, as well as local “sailing news” that might affect your route.
9. Fuel Up!
There’s nothing worse than running out of gas out on the water! Top up your rental before going out, and have a backup plan in case you run into trouble.
If the boat is gas-powered, study how to mix fuel properly and check oil levels before starting — then ask someone experienced if you want a second opinion!
10. Don’t Forget the Food & Drink!
Don’t forget to pack food for everyone on board; snacks are great since they don’t require preparation or utensils.
If the boating trip is longer than an hour, make sure you bring extra water because it can get very hot on boats.
Keep your spirits high by playing music over the speakers and planning fun activities to do while out on the water! Just make sure not to overcrowd your boat — it’s illegal to have too many passengers on board, according to most boat rental companies.